Cinco de Mayo is a popular holiday in the US where we traditionally celebrate the Mexican culture – but do you know what is the holiday really about?
Despite what you might think you know about Cinco de Mayo, I’ll bet you probably don’t *really* know what the day is about. Cinco de Mayo actually marks the day the Mexican Army, despite all odds against them in the Battle of Puebla, was able to defeat the French army and give the Americans time to win the American Civil war.
While widely touted as a Mexican holiday, the 5th of May is really only celebrated in and around Puebla, Mexico and here in the United States!
Even though Cinco de Mayo is kind of a US made-excuse to party day, it is popular in Mexican-American communities and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate and teach children about the combined cultures.
Enjoy a video lesson
Videos are great for learning about history and seeing other places and cultures without having to travel. With so many fun events closed down, you can take advantage of this holiday by pulling up a few great videos on Cinco de Mayo and Mexican culture in general on YouTube to use this opportunity for learning.
Arts and crafts are a great way to keep kids busy while sneaking in some facts and education. There are several great projects found online to work on with kids for celebrating Cinco De Mayo.
Coloring – Probably our favorite activity. It’s quiet, relaxing and you get to put them up on the fridge when you’re done! Download our free Cinco de Mayo coloring book printable and enjoy.
Flags – Making papel picado or cut paper flags is a great way to celebrate the Mexican culture with a fun bit of decoration you can keep.
The process for kids at home is similar to making paper snowflakes through the real flags made by artists use punches that allow them to make intricate designs.
Piñata – Making a homemade piñata is a fun Cinco de Mayo craft for kids that can double as an activity later during your Cinco de Mayo celebration. This one may be best to work on in the days leading up to rather than on the holiday so it has plenty of time for the paste and paint to dry.
Music – While you can always put on some of your favorite latin beats for Cinco De Mayo, a kids instrument set is the perfect way to dive right in to creating their own music.
This toy set includes: Xylophone, 2 Maracas, 2 Egg Shakers, 2 Finger Clappers, Tambourine, Drum Sticks, Wood Sounder, 2 Wrist Bells and a Triangle with a Striker. 17 pieces in all, these musical toys will help boys and girls learn the sounds and tones different instruments make and will unleash their musical creativity!
Cook traditional Mexican dishes
You can’t study culture without giving the food a try. Well you could, but why miss out? While most people think of taco trucks and Mexican restaurants when planning their Cinco de Mayo celebrations, these are also unfortunately more often than not, Americanized tex-mex versions of traditional foods.
To make the most of your cultural adventure, instead of going and looking for the most authentic place to eat out at – why not try making some of your favorite Mexican dishes at home? Most ingredients can be found in any local grocery store, but my best tip is to make sure you use fresh everything.
Mexican Recipes right here on our blog:
- Easy Homemade Churro Recipe with a Hint of Chocolate
- Baked Shrimp Nachos Recipe
- Forget the beer, try Margarita Battered Shrimp Tacos instead!
Snag a copy of Mexican Family Cooking: The Authentic Cuisine of Mexico in over 260 Mouthwatering Recipes: A Cookbook for a family-friendly and fun collection of authentic recipes. This book adds some great information about the area each dish is from for a great cultural lesson for each recipe.
Visit a parade or event
If your community is hosting any Cinco De Mayo events this is a great opportunity to get out and have some fun. Many communities are broadcasting parades and over events for everyone to enjoy even if they can not attend the celebration in person. These are a great way to get up close and personal with the bright and cheerful fiesta celebrations Mexico is so well known for.